The Fight for Fame
Rock star and actress Courtney Love was born less than ten hours after a solar eclipse in Cancer to hippie parents in the epicenter of the Free Love Movement in San Francisco.
Courtney was a happy baby but soon became moody and hyperactive. From the age of two, her mom took her to see psychologists. Libra was rising on the horizon when Courtney was born, but ruler Venus is co-present with an energetic and restless Mars in Gemini. About to turn direct, Venus appears to stand still in the sky. This means Mars is on his way to catch up with Venus, making these two planets a very charged and potent combo.
“I wish I was beautiful or at least wise, but I’m simply mad and violent.” – Courtney Love
This is a daytime chart, so Mars is the malefic planet contrary to the sect in favor, which turns this dynamic into a potential threat to Venus. As the 1st house ruler, Venus is governing Courtney’s physical well-being. When she was still a toddler, her dad, who was a road manager for the Grateful Dead, had given her LSD, according to court testimony from her mom’s friends. Courtney also suffered from horrible nightmares, which is similarly indicated by Mars, disrupting the dreaming associated with 9th house themes.
Courtney’s parents divorced and soon after, her mom remarried and had more kids. Courtney became very close to her stepfather but again, this couple, too, separated when she was 7. Her mom married for the 3rd time and moved to New Zealand with her new family, leaving Courtney behind to stay with friends. It didn’t take long for the situation to get out of hand and she was quickly sent on a plane to New Zealand. The reunion with her mom went anything but smoothly and Courtney was sent back to Portland to be raised by her former stepfather and relatives.
The signature of the solar eclipse clearly comes into play here. In Cancer, a tropical, or movable sign, the eclipse brings about crises. Solstitial sign Cancer, defining a pivotal turning point between light and dark, holds the promise of sudden changes, and eclipses have the power to make these changes much more dramatic. Cancer, the temple of the Moon, heavily emphasizes shifts in Courtney’s closest environment. Together with Ketu in the 4th house, and 4th house ruler Saturn in the place of Bad Fortune, this underlines Courtney’s rootlessness. The rejection she experienced must have been excruciating.
Rock Star Quality
Like the plotline in a movie, the Sun describes the general story of a person’s life. The obscuration of the Sun’s light can represent obstruction, conflict and antagonism. How did Courtney respond to these disturbances on her life path? It’s easy to imagine how volatile and rebellious this airy Venus/Mars combination can be! She was said to have an intense attitude. She was “scary and outrageous.” Later in life, she gained further notoriety for her temper and provocative, outspoken, and confrontational behavior. In other words, she had rock star quality. All this time, she knew she was going to be famous one day. She craved stardom and the Lights in the 10th house of career and public sphere tell us she wanted to make it at all costs.
“I'm driven. I am. I'm driven for some reason. But I don't know where I'm going.” – Courtney Love
However, the path to fame turned out to be a bumpy road. She got expelled from boarding school when she was 12, lived in a group home for troubled teenagers, was caught shoplifting and sent to a correctional facility at 14 years old.
Benevolent Jupiter is closely connected to Courtney’s Sun through a sextile from the 8th house of other people’s resources. When Courtney was released from prison, she became legally independent and gained access to a small family trust fund. She needed more money though and became a stripper at 16 years old. The 1st house ruler, Venus, co-present with the 2nd house ruler, Mars, describes the physical body as a potential source of income.
“I think self-destructiveness is given a really bad rap. I think it can also mean self-reflection and poetic sensibility. It can mean empathy, hedonism, a libertarianism.” – Courtney Love
In the 9th house of foreign travel, these two planets also speak to Courtney traveling to Japan to work in a strip bar. Much to her relief, the Japanese government closed down the bar and deported her. Soon after, she went to visit her biological father in Ireland. She was disappointed to find out he was dealing drugs to students, and they soon got on each other’s nerves. Her significator Venus is in aversion to both the Sun and the Moon which paints the picture of her becoming estranged from her parents. Still, in Ireland, she was inspired by the underground musical scene and forced her way in. As a Libra rising with Venus ruled by an 11th house planet, she knew how to network!
“Rock is all about writing your own script; it's all about pioneering.” – Courtney Love
By the time she was 19 years old Courtney started making some money and spent it on her friends, taking them on holidays. Jupiter in the 8th house, the Gates of Hades, not only the God of the Underworld but also of wealth, receives but also generously gives.
Throughout the 80s, between stripping and forming bands, her drug use started getting worse. When Jupiter transited her 10th house of career, she finally got a break. Her newly formed band Hole stormed the scene and did a gig leading to a national tour. Around that time, she also met Kurt Cobain for the first time, at a Nirvana concert.
"Glamour aside, there could be no more perfect couple at the time, we were so right for each other because we were the most antisocial people in our entire area." – Courtney Love
True to Courtney’s ever-shifting 10th house, no fewer than 14 band members came and went! Venus and Mars in Gemini are ruled by a very strong Mercury conjoining the degree of the Midheaven in Leo, revealing resourcefulness and ingenuity. Courtney’s half-siblings mentioned how creative she was. Later Hole’s co-founder Eric Erlandson said she had a lot of ideas that mysteriously infiltrated the lives of other band members, catalyzing synchronistic events. The 9th house sometimes channels divine inspiration.
When their daughter Frances Bean Cobain was born, Kurt had just gone into rehab. Despite the fact that Courtney was no longer using drugs, Child Protective Services took her baby several months later. In her Solar Return chart for that year, we see a tight opposition between a fallen Moon in the 4th house of family to an exiled Mars in the 10th house of government. This opposition also speaks to the fact that Kurt and Courtney’s private lives were highly publicized.
Eventually, drug use led to Kurt’s death as well as to Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff’s, who both died just months apart. This happened around Courtney’s Saturn Return. Her natal Saturn in the 6th house makes a contra-antiscion to the degree of the descendant, effectively connecting themes of suffering, illness, and death to the 7th house of marriage and partnerships.
“The language of love letters is the same as suicide notes.” – Courtney Love
Her life has been a rollercoaster, full of ups and downs, in and out of rehab, navigating estrangements and reconciliations, receiving awards and facing legal troubles. We probably haven’t heard the last of it!
“I like to behave in an extremely normal, wholesome manner for the most part in my daily life. Even if mentally, I'm consumed with sick visions of violence, terror, sex and death.” – Courtney Love